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Sheriff Baca's odds of winning reelection just improved

June 12, 2013|By Sandra Hernandez
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will be up for reelection next year.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will be up for reelection next year. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

Earlier this year, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell teased voters by suggesting he might challenge Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca in next year’s election.

Now he says he won’t run for sheriff because it would require too much time spent on fundraising and politicking. His decision, while understandable, is disappointing for many reasons. McDonnell is a well-respected cop who recently served on the county commission that criticized Baca’s management of the jails.

As The Times' editorial board wrote in February, Baca has never faced a credible challenger for the job. The board, though not endorsing any candidate, noted that McDonnell's presence would be a positive force because it would push Baca to explain his record to voters, and serve as an incentive for the sheriff to enact the sweeping reforms recommended last year by the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence.

Without McDonnell in the race, Baca will probably have a much easier time winning a fifth term, despite the string of problems and scandals that has plagued him in recent months. His department is under investigation, and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka has given a scathing critique of Baca.


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